Jarryd Hayne would still be playing football if a minor league system was in place in the NFL.
When Hayne decided to transition from elite rugby player to NFL running back, it was one of the coolest stories to track in 2015. Almost as soon as his football career began, it was over. After 17 rushing attempts over one full season, Hayne retired and returned to rugby. It would have been fun to see him continue his NFL aspirations, and it appears he would have if the league had a minor league affiliate.
Hayne told the New Zealand Herald, he would “100 per cent” return to the NFL if they had a second division team where he could earn reps.
“If there was a second division team where I could get those mental reps of being on the field, 100 per cent I’d go back to the NFL.
“I’m at the end of my career where I really (have) just got to get on the field.”
It’s not a bad suggestion as a minor league system would allow football players to continue to get work in, instead of standing on the sidelines. The 28-year-old is an elite athlete, so sitting so long over the course of a full season is a waste of his talents. Hayne isn’t a young guy who can wait and learn, he needed to play. With a minor league system, he’d get the chance.
Will the NFL ever adopt a second division? It’s hard to say. However, MLB, the NBA, and the NHL all have minor leagues in place, so it would make sense for the NFL to at least consider it. That way, they wouldn’t lose players like Hayne who are unhappy with standing around. Then again, does America really need another football league to straddle the line between college football and the NFL?